Canadian beauty Katherine Ryan brings her latest show to Glasgow’s Pavilion Theatre, a venue associated with traditional Scottish variety performers and pantomime. Ryan could not be further from this. Her show is bold, brash and brutally honest, making the comments about our contemporary society that we often fail to voice. Katherine Ryan is a breath of fresh air in British comedy.
It may be possible to compare some aspects of her performance to others – her “holds nothing back” approach is similar to that of Frankie Boyle, her extremely charming stage presence like that of Aisling Bea – but, she remains a total individual. Her jokes have a huge range: from stories of her experiences of dating and being a mother, through to making statements on rape, feminism and Bill Cosby. She does not poke fun at victims but she shows the light in the very dark areas of life in our world.
Now living in London, Ryan refers regularly to her home town of Sarnia in Ontario, Canada. She describes the chemical plant near her childhood home, and how it is also the teenage pregnancy and teenage suicide capital. Ryan tells us how she is scheduled to return next month to the town for her younger sister’s wedding and she closes the show with a full rehearsal of her maid of honour speech. She thanks the theatre staff, she thanks her audience for coming, she thanks her support Julia Sutherland, who was an absolute treat, and then she begins. Katherine Ryan pulls together her whole show in its finale and ties a little bow on it. She has the Glasgow audience in the palm of her hand, prepared to go on whatever route she would like.
The television star may not be the most “family friendly” comedian around, but she knows how to tell it like it is. It makes perfect sense why Katherine Ryan is such a huge hit; she’s edgy, she’s frank, she’s incredibly charming and she can make you look at Cheryl Cole very, very differently.